Responding to the Care Quality Commission’s State of Health and Social Care in England report, Andrew Ridley, chair of the Community Network, which is hosted by the NHS Confederation and NHS Providers, said:
“It is encouraging to see the CQC recognise the positive impact of central, dedicated funding for the discharge to assess policy during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has supported patients to leave hospital as quickly and safely as possible and be cared for in or closer to their homes.
“This policy has been better for people and supports a more sustainable health and care system. It has also provided exceptional value during the pandemic, delivering millions of pounds worth of savings on hospital bed costs and freeing up thousands of trained nurses.
“The CQC has rightly recognised that this dedicated funding has helped deliver encouraging results, and the need for a longer-term funding settlement to maintain these benefits. Leading voices from both health and social care have repeatedly called for continued central funding beyond the end of the financial year.
“A funding cliff edge in April risks significant disruption for teams and will mean more people waiting longer in hospital when they could be receiving care at home or in more suitable community settings – and at a time when it will be crucial to keep hospital capacity free where possible to enable the NHS to make progress on treatment backlogs.
“Community providers want to continue working collaboratively with colleagues from the NHS and social care to deliver benefits for patients and the wider health and care system, but it will be challenging to do this without adequate resource and funding certainty for the new financial year.”